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Not much is better than Memorial Day memories

May 24, 2009
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

Oh, how I wish I were smart enough to remember where Grandma Lyle's family cemetery plot is.

I know it's at Oakland and it's a big plot with several graves and there's a small cement fence around it and you've got to walk downhill a bit to get there. I've been there several times with Mom, but she's been dead for more than four years. Now I cannot find that plot to save my soul.

A few years ago my husband and I rode around to city cemeteries with my sister and her husband, stopping to pay respects to grandparents, aunts and uncles. We'd already been out to the Newark Township Cemetery to say hi to the folks.

"Gee," I said, "if you want I can show you the Arnett family plot."

Oh, boy, was I feeling smug. I knew something special.

"Just turn here," I said. He turned.

"Now take that sharp left." He took that sharp left.

If we'd been dragging rope behind us, we'd looked like a giant spider in a spider web.

We couldn't find the plot. I would have started over and driven every road in the place, but my behind went where the van went and the van went home. I've been determined since then to find that plot, but here it is a day before Memorial Day and I still don't know where it is.

One of the men buried there must have been in the Civil War, because I've got a white granite tombstone with his name etched in it in my back yard, using it as a bench. He has his own headstone in the family plot, so I don't feel compelled to turn over my stone.

In several different years, my husband and I have celebrated Memorial Day in Oregon with our friends, David and Vicki Bailey. He grows beautiful flowers and takes them by the bucketsful to family and friends who have died. My favorite cemetery is a little place on a hill surrounded by huge Douglas fir trees, where David's parents are buried. I love being there, and I love the ceremony.

Everybody has something that's special to them when it comes to Memorial Day.

For Susan Witzel, of Humboldt, it's thinking of the late Joanne Walker. Joanne, you remember, wrote the Reflections column for The Messenger for years.

"We were gone for several months this winter, and I had been missing Joanne's column since we returned home," Susan wrote in an e-mail. "Until Marilyn Hundertmark's letter to the editor in this morning's paper, I had no idea that Joanne had died. ... I enjoyed her column for many years, as well as hearing her speak at the FD library at one of their noon programs. She always gave her readers so much to think about and gave us 'spiritual fodder' to reflect upon.

"I had missed her column since returning home, but had thought perhaps she had retired and that she was no longer doing her writing. ... She certainly added a depth to The Messenger that I, for one, greatly miss."

Remembering friends, even if you don't know them personally, makes Memorial Day special, for sure.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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